Approximately 11.5 miles northeast of Los Angeles is one of my most favorite places in Southern California: The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. Encompassing 207 acres of land in the San Gabriel Valley, it is an Olympic feat to see it all in one day.
As a kid, I remember watching the Rose Bowl Parade on our very non-HD, barely color and monstrously boxy television set. I could hardly hear the announcers’ color commentary over my mother’s “¡Mira pa’ eso!” “¡Que cosa más bella Dios mio! ” and “Como inventan los Americanos.”
Now I get to send her text messages with crisp photos, inches away from the floats.
There is something magical about this place. The beach, the cliffs, the flowers, the trees. They all conspire together to thumb its nose at Los Angeles. Yet, Santa Barbara doesn’t need to be compared to another city to be better than. It earns that distinction on its own. If money and means were available to me, it’s where I would call home…at least part of the year.
Photo Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images North America
No other place in L.A. personifies the word chanchullo like Hollywood Boulevard.
Half of the tourists are looking down at the names immortalized in thin gold letters, the other half are looking up for a glimpse at the world-famous Hollywood sign, meanwhile Batman and Elvis are desperately trying to get those distracted people to take a picture with them for a dollar or two. Over the music that blares from stores, street performers and musicians, there are approximately 3 tour companies on every block that try to get you to listen to their pitch as they hand you a brochure. And they are competing for attention and turf space, not with each other, but with Scientologists and Christians who also like to hand out pamphlets and Bibles, while inviting you to take a personality test or warn you about hell. The homeless panhandle everyone, except the occasional camera crew, as they know to stay out of their shot.
Photo credit: Adoramassey – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
I speak English and Spanish separately and together, as well as broken Italian, elementary French and can utter two phrases in German. Yet none of these linguistic tools are absolutely any use to me in Southern California. Every sign across every highway, and every street in every city is pronounced exactly opposite of how it naturally comes out of my mouth.
By CrispyCream27 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
An hour from Los Angeles, you’ll “leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy” for about two hundred bucks and a mean sunburn.
The city of Temecula is a little under two hours away from LA, which is also the exact amount of time you’ll need to exhaust all of the culo jokes you can come up with.
Richard Nixon was a congressman, a senator, a two-term vice-president, a near two-term president, and an adviser to the presidents after him. He was also the first president to resign. All of these are facts I knew thanks to my seventh grade civics report on the 37th POTUS. Years later through movies, books and the Pentagon Papers, I learned that he was racist and paranoid, he held grudges and was grossly power-hungry. Basically he was tremendo H.P.
Among the very many things to do in Los Angeles is to drive down Carroll Avenue in the neighborhood of Echo Park.
Say these words to a Cuban kid and watch as they forget their stranger-danger sensibilities and reluctantly give you an awkward and messy kiss on the cheek.